Do you know where you want your career to be before you turn 30? 40? 70? Do you know what you want to accomplish with your money before your next birthday? Or before your kids are born? Are there relationships you want to establish, strengthen, or heal in the next year?
If you don’t know how to answer these and similar questions, it’s probably because you lack vision.
Vision can be a tricky thing. There are always forces working to cloud it, many of which are within ourselves. We often confuse vision with daydreams and hopes, which can lead to frustration, wasted energy, and burnout. And there are people all around who will tell you your vision’s too big or small, silly, weird, cliche, and doomed to fail.
Without a clear vision, though, you’re selling yourself short. You’re saying, essentially, that you’re okay with whatever fate the world wants to impose on you.
Which is a shame, really, because finding your vision doesn’t have to be hard. Not if you’re willing to work for it. Plus, the creator of the universe is on your side, so you’ve got that going for you. Here are a three simple steps to clarify your vision:
- Identify your passions: God leads us through the desires of our heart. If you’re passionate about something (for example: teaching, correcting injustice, feeding the hungry, being a good spouse, or creating art), it could be that God wants you to use that energy for something big. Vision can sprout from whatever moves you.
- Develop your strengths: It’s one thing to be passionate about something. It’s another entirely to be good at it. Excitement alone won’t change the world; you’ve got to pour your energy into developing the skills you’ll need to make your vision come true. Are you a filmmaker who wants to change the world with a cinematic masterpiece? Go to film school, read up on editing, lighting, cinematography, scriptwriting, and storytelling. Do you want to take modern medicine to undeveloped areas of the world? Before you book a plane ticket, you’ll want to log a few years in med school, and develop a network of people who’ll support you financially, spiritually, and emotionally. Which leads me to #3:
- Spread your vision around: No vision that excludes others is a vision worth having. Not only does a God-inspired vision involve helping others (whether it’s a spouse, kids, friends, members of your community, or foreign nations), but you’ll also require the support of others in order to succeed. Every day that you fight to make your vision a reality, you’re fighting against a world full of nay-sayers. Even the odds by finding others who either share your vision or are at least willing to fight on your side through prayer, emotional support, or even financial contributions.
“Show me a leader without vision, and I’ll show you someone who isn’t going anywhere. At best, he is traveling in circles.”
– John Maxwell, Leadership 101